Wednesday, April 10, 2013

From the Abstraction Foundry: scraps from the workroom floor

Since I began knitting in earnest, I've become a smidgen obsessed with the craft. In that I think about knitting quite frequently. That is to say, I ponder yarn, projects, needles, knitters, designs, color, patterns, etc., and how they all interact, all the time. Constantly. I'll be writing a work email, and midway through sentence composition I'll be struck by a bolt from the blue. (Knitting-related lightening strikes are, by default, gentle and a bit woolly, but still firm.) This bolt is a grain of sand, a bit of brain grit that my mind will then form a pearl around in its attempts to expel it.

I even think the word "IDEA!" in Simon Pegg's voice.

I'll suddenly need to know all about Bluefaced Leicester wool, and its properties, and how it takes color vs. merino, and what does the sheep look like anyway? and which BFL yarns are commercially available, and look there's a cool indie dyer who does sock-weight 80-20 blend with nylon, and that colorway would look amazing as Kitman Figueroa's Damask shawl, or maybe a more geometric design, and I should try to design my own this time...

(Even if you're not a knitter, you should be familiar with this phenomenon: Wiki-binge and YouTube trance start the same way. You think of X, and must go read about/watch X, and then you click a link to that related thing, and so on, and it leads you further and further from the original source.)

But I'm off, and down the rabbit hole, mentally casting aside my 18 (!) active or partially finished projects and my substantial stash of beautiful yarns in favor of the mere dream of a brand-new project--my shiny new pearl. The truth is I don't have time to knit all the projects I put together in my head. I don't knit quickly or monogamously enough to get through even the handful of actually important knits in my life. (I'm eyeballing you, M&M's wedding afghan. For their fifth anniversary, now...?)

So I have all these cool ideas, and they just languish in my brain, where inevitably they are reabsorbed and their raw materials are reused. It's as if a seed floated in on the breeze, and I gathered a bunch of soil and fertilizer and water around it until it sprouted, and then I abandon the sprout to turn to compost in order to tend the rest of my head forest. No longer! I'm giving the plants/pearls away, documenting the notions here and hoping they find their way to some knitter who doesn't know what her/his/its next project should be.

Final Concept
Arroway Shawl by Stephen West

Primary ingredient: Black Trillium Fibre Studio Pebble Sock in colorway Hedwig

Miss Babs Yummy Superwash Sock & Baby Yarn in colorway Newsprint

Malabrigo Yarn Sock in colorway Ravelry Red

The brain grit that spawned this one: seeing a skein of Hedwig by Black Trillium at Vogue Knitting Live! Seattle this past weekend. I loved it but couldn't quite parse out how best to use it.

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